After the critical articles are posted on Blackboard on 4/1, I will add another prompt that connects the critical articles to the readings as well.
1. In what ways does “Monstro” fit the conventions of either post-apocalyptic literature, as described by Stanton Garner in your 2/23 reading on Angles in America? How does the zombie disease in Monstro parallel notions of the postmodern apocalyptic in literature?
2. Choose 2 key scenes from Warm Bodies the novel that are cut from the film, and explain the impact of these lost scenes on the narrative. Does the film try to convey the values from these cut scenes in other ways? If so, how so?
3. How do either “Monstro” or “Warm Bodies” (the film) challenge or support the models of zombie literature discussed in earlier readings by Pokonowrski and Boluk/Lenz? Use specific scenes to make your case.
Don’t forget to sign up to meet with me before April 20th about your final project. Here’s the conference schedule so far:
(open appointments 11, and 12)
12:30 Jessica G
Don’t forget you have 2 postings due for this week.
1.) A short, approximately 100 word posting on a possible final research project for the course. Remember to think about starting with a “traingulation” a critical theory or term from the readings applied to 2 different performances. That will give you a good base of keywords from which to conduct your research.
2.) An overall response to the Mental Illness Unit readings (Marbles, American Splendor, and perhaps Warm Bodies if you want to explore it metaphorically. This Unit reflection should be a bit longer than a routine weekly posting–around 1000 words. Here are some ideas to consider for your response.
– Why might graphic novels in particular be helpful for exploring issues of mental illness? For example, are there specific moments in Marbles and American Splendor that work better narratively specifically because they can illustrate multiple images, or words next to images?
– El Refaie extensively discusses the power of graphic novel to speak autobiographically. Taking some of her key terms, discuss where you see her concepts at work in Marbles, even though she doesn’t specifically address this graphic novel.
-In Amy Gall’s review of Forney’s work, she says Forney poses the question of whether bipolar diagnosis is a gift or a curse. Can you apply this question to American Splendor as well, and analyze specific scenes in which mental illness could be seen as a gift? What problems do you see this provoking in terms of the metaphors of illness we’ve discussed relative to cancer, Ebola, and AIDS? Discuss specific frames or scenes where the curse/gift dichotomy is explored in these texts.
Here are some thoughts about possible approaches to your posting for Warm Bodies, and for approaching zombie literature as disease literature more generally.
1. Warm Bodies, like most vampire, zombie or other horror literature, can often be read as an allegory (a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one). Discuss how a specific scene of this novel speaks in allegory about themes that connect other readings we have done on contagion.
2. Steven Pokonowrski argues that zombie films are often metaphors of heavily policed medical, military identities that are driven by conformist mainstream ideology. Pick a passage of Warm Bodies and argue how it supports or challenges Pokonowrski’s argument.
3.Boluk and Lenz also trace narrative patterns, but see zombie literature as part of an overall thread in Early Modern (post-Renaissance) “plague literature” that connects infection and capitalism. Based on your reading of a single scene, how does Warm Bodies connect capitalist expansion and plague?
4. Look at the two epigraphs that open Warm Bodies, both connecting to Gilgamesh. One is a traditionally articulate lyric quotation from perhaps the oldest text created; the other is a quote of mere ellipses from the same text. Why do you think Isaac Marion opens his story with these two quotations?
Read any of the 3 articles posted on Blackboard and use them to post on one of the following topics after watching the film American Splendor (this film is on Amazon instant video and on reserve at the library as well).
1.) How do graphic novels represent first-person experience vividly, and why do you think artists like Forney and Pekar are drawn to this medium to tell their stories of illness in particular? El Rafaie’s article should be particularly helpful for this approach.
2.) How do images of depression in Pekar’s life differ from those in Forney’s life? Do you consider this a representation of depression on film, although Pekar never fully claims this status? (Fulford’s article might help here).
3.) How does the medium of film integrate graphic images into its narrative differently than a “straight” graphic novel like Forney’s? How do the moments of graphic novelization affect the overall telling of Pekar’s story in this film? (Meyer’s article might help with this)